Thursday, October 27, 2011

when being thrifty, but not thrifty enough, really sucks.

Can I share something embarrassing with you? 

I haven't bought new clothes (for fall and winter) since oh, I don't know...2008?  I hate am growing tired of wearing the same crappy jeans and long sleeved t-shirts every day.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I don't have to dress up for work.  I can wear jeans, tennis shoes, whatever.  So we're not supposed to wear holey t-shirts or cut offs or anything, but you get what I mean.  (We aren't really supposed to wear hoodies either, but since it's usually 25 below in there at night, they let the 3rd-shifters get by with it). 

I just feel frumpy and gross.  Always.  First of all, it's hard to go shopping when you have 2 babies.  It's not like you can take a shopping cart in the fitting room.  Or a double stroller.  So the weekend is the only time I could really go, and guess what?  I don't really want to, because I like spending time with my husband.  Imagine that.

Additionally, I don't enjoy spending money.  We don't have tons of it to spend, but I could afford to buy myself an outfit or two each month.  I'm always choosing to buy things for the kids instead or thinking about what that money could better be spent on.  Whether I'm at the mall or Target, I go straight to the sale racks when I do need to pick up a cute shirt for a weekend get-together (because I know the friends/family/etc are so sick of seeing me in the same things for many, many years now).  Nothing wrong with finding a good deal, but here's the thing.  You get what you pay for 99% of the time.  Even if that $6 shirt is super cute, it will probably fall apart the second time it gets washed.  Or if it's a sweater, it will be all ball-y after the first wear.  I always forget these things until it's too late.  Then I curse myself for buying yet another cheap top from Old Navy.

I just can't pay full price, my brain isn't trained that way.  If I could get over it, I'd probably look and feel a lot nicer.  Instead, I end up with a bunch of future cleaning rags and end up wearing my same ol, same ol jeans and t-shirts.  And tennis shoes. 


Now, I know there are outrageous deals to be found at Goodwill and consignment stores.  I'm thrify, as in cheap/budget-conscious/straight-to-the-sale-rack thrifty, but I'm not thrifty as in dig-through-a-600-gallon-cardboard-bin-of-moth-ball-smelling-tops-for-3-hours-until-you-find-one-cute tank-top-that-you-still-need-a-cardigan-to-go-over-only-to-discover-the-coffee-stain-between-the-boobs thifty.

Bigger sigh. 

I hate feeling ugly and dumpy and gross like this all the time.  I don't think about it when I'm at home playing with the kids, but when it's time to go somewhere...when it's time to go hang out with one of my cutely clothed mom friends... when I'm wearing the same outfit to work for the 3rd Monday in a row.... it gets me down. 

I just don't know how other moms do it.  How do I get out of the "I'm poor" mentality? Out of the "never spend more than $10 on a shirt" mentality?  Out of the "I wish I was pretty" mentality?  Out of the "my kids will look cute at all costs but I don't deserve that for myself" mentality. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

toddle along tuesday #3 - milestones

Whew. It was a rough week, guys. You know how I posted those super-adorable (okay, I thought so) pics of my super-adorable (no, they really are - swear) babes at the Children's Museum last week? Ha. Yeah, I thought we had a good time. Joke's on me. Me and Theo got so sick with the most disgusting stomach bug ever. I haven't been that sick in years. I have been to bed before 9pm every night since last Wednesday. I think I'm better now, so it's time for another post and link-up to Toddle Along Tuesday.

Conveniently, the theme this week is about that?  Because, I've been wondering when Theo would get sick with a bug that made him puke real puke.  Not baby spit up.  Not gagging on dinner.  I'm talking partially digested, disgusting-smelling, grown-up chunky puke.  Sorry for the visual, but it happened last week.  So gross.  Give me poop all day long, I can deal with poop.  But puke?  No sir-ee.  I'm out the door when the puke starts splattering on the floor. 

Let's talk about more pleasant things, shall we?

Theo at 19 months is:

*a picky eater...well, not exactly.  There's lots of things that he likes but he's picky about what he eats when.  I never know if he is going to love or hate spaghetti, pineapple, or green beans.  One thing he always eats - goldfish crackers.  The boy might be able to live on goldfish crackers and white milk alone.  We don't let him have flavored milk or other sugary drinks on a regular basis.  Water or milk it is, except for the occasional pull off of one of our drinks just for a treat.

*a good sleeper.  He sleeps from about 7:30 or 8pm until about 7am.  No complaints there.  If I were going to complain though, it would be about his naps at home.  He usually takes a 3 hour nap at the babysitter, sometimes 4.  He NEVER does that at home.  We're good to get 1 two hour nap out of him on the weekends.  Considering his nighttime sleep though ... not complaining.

*a train, truck, and tractor lover.  His latest craze is Chuggington, the little cartoon about trains on Disney Junior.  We do limit the amount of television that he watches, but it's just so darn cute to see him get all excited about his little show.  "Chun-ton!"

*a great talker.  His vocabulary is expanding so quickly.  He is so cute in his mannerisms sometimes.  He'll stand at the bookshelf, scanning for a favorite book, saying "hmmm..." as he searches with his eyes.  Yesterday I was in the bathroom drying my hair, fretting my ghastly appearance and wardrobe selection.  I say to my husband "honey, this year for Christmas, I'm requiring all new clothing and beauty treatments."  I didn't realize that Theo was standing in the doorway watching me, but he says "okay," then turns around and walks away.  He's so silly.  He's stringing 2-4 word phrases together starting off with "I want..." or "I'm gonna..."  Every day, he says something I've never heard him say before.

*easier to manage.  He's a little more trust-worthy now.  A little, I say, because he is more aware of his own safety.  For example, he was lying on the couch the other night.  A couple weeks or a month ago, he had no regard for the possibility of falling off of the couch or hurting himself.  We normally have the ottoman pushed up to the couch but on that day, we didn't.  His arm was dangling down between the couch and the ottoman and he said "fall," as if he were telling himself not to.  I like how he can tell us "milkies" or "water" - he's showing some preferences and it's nice that he can finally specify what he wants at times.


Dexter at 5 months is:

*starting to eat baby foods.  So far he's had baby oatmeal, bananas, and peas.  Peas have been his least favorite, but he still ate them.  He's slow.  He's messy.  He's getting the hang of it.  It's weird - I feel anxious about how we will ever get him from this stage to eating all the same things we do, like we did with Theo.  I've done it before - not so long ago - so I'm not sure why it's overwhelming again.  With Theo it was a very natural progression and I'm sure it will go that way with Dexter too.  But for some reason, it's like I totally forgot what to do.

*a crappy sleeper.  He wakes up multiple times through the night (most nights) and does not have a set nap schedule yet.  Most days he doesn't want to nap in his bed and ends up sleeping in the swing at some point.  That was something else that stressed me out with Theo, but guess what?  Theo eventually outgrew the swing and that was no longer an option.  And I don't remember it being traumatic.  So we're just dealing with it one day at a time.  And Dexter, dear sweet Dexter, wakes up for good at 5:50  Ugh.

*obsessed with television.  We literally have to turn it off sometimes because I don't want him to be a t.v. zombie.  If it's on, he will break his neck trying to watch it.  He loves playing with his little crinkly toys.  He will play with just about anything you put in front of him.

*such a happy baby.  He's an easy smiler - everyone always comments on how easy it is to get him to smile.  I love that about my baby Dexter. He babbles and coos and has the sweetest tone to his little voice. 

*trying hard to sit up on his own.  He has great neck, head, and back control, but just needs a little more balance to be able to sit up independently.  He can last for quite a while if I sit him on the floor or couch with the boppy around him.  He LOVES playing with his toes right now - I love this stage.

*still toothless.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

toddle along tuesday (post #2)

This week, for the Toddle Along Tuesday blog hop, the topic is "fail."   I just had to laugh.  Unless you've just started reading my blog, you know I've posted about a few of these. 

So I am going to link up a recent post about a FAIL when I let our babysitter down.  Talk about embarrassing.  Read all about it here.


Monday, October 17, 2011

pushing through the sleepy.

Dexter is getting teeth.  Or I should say that we hope he is getting teeth because that would be the only reasonable explanation for his change in demeanor and behavior lately.  He's still a happy, happy boy most of the time but there have been instances when he is just fussy for no apparent reason.  And he is sleeping like crap.  Naps: Crap.  Nighttime:  Total crap.  Screaming in the car:  Full on. 

I remember Theo at this age quite well.  I remember thinking there was no end in sight to these days and nights.  Wondering why all the sudden, our good-sleepin' baby has regressed back to newbie sleep patterns.  I remember sitting at work, wishing I could be at home to bear some of the weight, to help my husband...asking him if he wanted me to switch shifts at work so I could be there to relieve him.  Feeling guilty that I wasn't suffering too.  Same thing now.

Not to say that I don't suffer on the weekends.  One advantage that my hubs has over me is that he can fall asleep the second he lays down 99% of the time.  I can't.  Ever since Theo was born, I just don't sleep well.  Luckily, I get a little bit of a chance to catch up on sleep during the week when the house is quiet.  When the kids are home, I'm anxious.  Paranoid to go to sleep because they'll wake up soon and I'll have to get up anyway.  Paranoid to fall asleep because I might not hear them. 


Typical night the last couple of weekends:
8pm(ish): Get Theo in bed.

8:15-8:45: Get Dexter in bed.

10:30pm:  Fall asleep on the couch trying to watch DVR'd shows with my husband.

12:00am: Wake up because my neck hurts and tell Boo that I'm going to bed.

12:05-2am:  Lay in bed, wondering when Dexter is going to wake up while listening to Theo's Leap Frog Scout toy (hoping it doesn't wake him up) as he rolls all over it.  Think to myself I have GOT to take that thing out of his bed.

2:15am: Drift off to sleep.

3:45am: Wake up to the sound of Dexter whining, get up, go in his room, put him back in the middle of the bed...restart his sleep sheep.

4:00am:  Lay back down, wondering when Dexter will wake back up.  Listen to Boo snore (which is pretty much nails on a chalkboard to me when I'm trying to sleep).

445am:  Grab my phone and play some games or read Facebook.

5:30am: Drift off to sleep.

5:31am: Wake to the sound of Dexter whining again.

5:40am:  Crawl back into my bed with a freshly diapered Dexter and nurse him until he falls back asleep.

6:15am: Slip out of bed with Dexter and lay him back in his crib. 

6:16am:  Trip over a stupid beautiful cat who is 4 years old but hasn't figured out that walking directly in front of humans doesn't work out well.  Curse.

6:17am:  Lay back down, close my eyes and pretend no one else is home.

6:42am: Wake up to the sound of Theo's groaning and elbow Boo, begging him to give me 5 more minutes.  He gets up and gets Theo's "milkies" ready.

6:45am: listen to Boo trip over the cat.  Curses.  Listen to Dexter whining.  Stomp out of bed and into Dexter's room.  Get over my foul attitude when he gives me a sleepy smile. 

I wish I was exaggerating.  Good morning, world.  Caffeine.  Where's the caffeine?


Despite the sleeplessness and subsequent headaches I've been experiencing, it was a beautiful weekend.  Staying in the house will make me crazy for certain, so we had to get out and go do.  The weather was nice.  Theo finally said "yuh-you" back to me when I told him "I love you" on Friday.  We made an impromptu trip to Target (love) that night.  Saturday it was windy, but we rode a little miniature train and shopped at the outlet mall.  Sunday, we went to the Children's Museum - Theo had the best time.  I hate that Boo and I are both stressed from the time we wake up until the time we leave because we are both tired exhausted and there's so much to do to just get out the freakin' door

If you've made it this far, the least I can do is provide some cute pictures of my dahling children.  Thanks for reading.  Your comments really do make my day!

I couldn't get enough of those tiny toes.  Neither could he.

He's so cute, right?

All things considered... they are worth every sleepless night.  I bet I won't remember how tired I was when I look at these precious pictures 20 years from now. 


Thursday, October 13, 2011

imperfect parenting.

There are nights when everything just goes wrong.  Nights when I just want to pull my hair out (example:  this Tuesday).  Theo didn't get a good nap that day.  Dexter has been a little fussy, I think he's working on teeth.  He won't let me sit him down to fix dinner, fold the laundry, or do the dishes without crying.  He's tired but he won't take a nap.  Theo throws food on the floor and smears mashed potatoes all over the table.  And in his hair.  And inside his ears.  It isn't wasn't even bath night (but it is now).

He sees the wagon in the garage and when he realizes we won't be going for a walk around the neighborhood (or as we refer to it at home - putting him in that red thing and doing that one thing around the you-know-what), he collapses into a pile of wet noodles on the floor (or ground. or garage floor).  And proceeds to scream and flop around like a fish out of water until he eventually hits his head on the leg of a table or a big plastic toy he left in the middle of the hallway.  He has that reaction to 4 or 5 other life-changing catastrophes that don't go his way.  You know, like having to get out of the bathtub after splashing 90% of the water out (on me).  And then he arches his back and twists and turns when we put him on the changing table for jammies, making it nearly impossible to accomplish anything at all. 

AND THEN he decides to throw his cup.  Causing the lid to pop off.  Causing oh, I don't know, 7 ounces of milk to splatter all over the door, walls, (cloth) laundry hamper, and into every crook, nanny, groove, and crevice of his changing table drawer fronts.  And I think MAN, am I glad we got the one with all that beautiful detail.  And naturally, he does this at bedtime.  And naturally, it takes about 20 minutes to clean it all up.  Of course he finds it amusing to see me on my hands and knees sopping up the mess with towels and subsequently wiping down the floor with baby wipes.  Of course I'm mad.  Or maybe just tired.  Or just completely over the whole stupid night.  And of course he screams bloody murder when I turn off the light and shut the door behind me without looking at him or kissing him goodnight. 

And of course...

Before I take two steps down the hall, I feel guilty and get that knot in my chest.  So I turn right back around.  I open the door and pick him up.  I hug him tight to my chest and close my tear-filled eyes as he rests his tear-stained cheek on my shoulder.  He stops crying and I whisper I love you, baby.  I'm so sorry. I think he is too. 

I dry both of our faces and kiss his forehead.  I tuck him in and rub his back.  I tell him everything is going to be okay, promise that I'm not mad at him, and say tomorrow will be a better day.  The kind of day when everything goes just right.  And it does.

happy 5 months old today, sweet boy!

Every day I think I could not love them more.  But every day I do.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(almost) wordless wednesday

pop pop lets me drive the tractor

undoubtedly the cutest pumpkin in the patch

pure parade excitement

my pop pop is hilarious


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

we're rear-facing until 24 months (at least)

Theo (at 18 months) in his Graco My Ride 65

I hate how skittish I am when it comes to blogging things that readers might find offensive.  I've wanted to talk about how my kids will remain rear-facing in their car seats until they are at least 2 for quite awhile.  Especially since I read this post by Mommyboots on the same subject.  But the thing is, I don't want to come off like I think I'm a better mom or that I think I care more about my kids than anyone whose toddler is forward facing.  My assumption is that lots of parents are misinformed - by their pediatricians even - or have never had the inclination to read the research for themselves about why rear-facing is so important.  I would never want other moms to think I'm telling them how to raise their kid.  I certainly don't want anyone telling me how to raise mine, so this post is just about sharing information.  Is that cool, guys?  If not, you better scoot along right now.   

I've gotten strange looks and even a handful of (almost condescending "oh isn't that cute?") comments about how safety-oriented I am (as if that's a bad thing?) because Theo is now 19 months and is still rear facing in his car seat.  That shocks me, considering that American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that ALL children remain rear facing until at least age 2 for their safety.  At Theo's 9 and 12 month appointments, our pediatrician reminded us of the risks involved in turning a child age 12-23 months forward facing.  I don't consider myself the nutty, hovering-helicopter type by any means.  The simple truth is that this is an easy way to make my child FIVE times safer in his car seat and 75 percent less likely to die in an automobile accident.  Let's face it - people are crazy and you never know who you are on the road with.  Plus, these convertible seats are a pain in the butt to install.  So it's actually LESS work leaving him rear facing longer.  Lazy person's bonus right there.

I guess some people say their kid doesn't like to be rear-facing because they can't see out as well.  If that was the only experience they'd had, they wouldn't know any better.  Some people say their kid cries when they are rear-facing.  Isn't that better than taking the chance of them sustaining fatal or permanent injuries?  Some parents say that their kid's legs are too long.  Kids sit with their legs crossed all the time.  So do I.  It's not uncomfortable at all.  Other parents might think that kids suffer broken legs more often in a crash when they are rear-facing.  Not true.  More children suffer broken legs when they are forward facing. 

The research shows that a rear-facing car seat deflects the impact of a collision throughout the back of the car seat, the child's back, head, and neck.  In a forward facing carseat, the neck takes the brunt of the impact.  I can't cite all of this information because it has come from multiple sites and articles that I have read, but if you take 10 minutes to google how long should by baby stay rear-facing and thumb through the results, you'll read all the same things. 

The law is currently that a child cannot be turned forward facing until they meet minimum requirements of 20 pounds and 12 months.  The law is not that they must be turned forward facing at that time.  I look for the laws about this to change soon - the research strongly supports favorable outcomes for children who rear-face well beyond 12 months. 

Courtesy of University of Michigan Child Passenger Protection

Just look at the image above from a 2007 crash test comparison.  It's pretty convincing when you see the difference in how the baby's body is affected by the impact.  According to this article, "the mass of the head of a small child is about 25% of the body mass whereas the mass of the adult head is only 6%! A small child's neck sustains massive amounts of force in a crash. The body is held back by the straps while the head is thrown forward - stressing, stretching or even breaking the spinal cord."

I'm like the next mom - I have a love/hate relationship with milestones (and turning your toddler forward-facing is certainly a big one).  I love moving to the next exciting developmental stage, but I hate how that always means that we're leaving the newborn days further and further behind.  Even though I know it will be easier to interact with them when they are forward-facing....even though I suspect they will enjoy road trips much more when they are forward facing....I'm not rushing this milestone. 

If you don't believe me, because I'm certainly not an expert, please check out some of the resources below. 

If your 12-23 month old child is currently forward-facing, I hope you'll consider repositioning his or her car seat.  And I hope I haven't made you mad - it's just because this is really important to me and because I sincerely care. 

Comments, questions, ridicule, and suggestions are very welcomed. 


Thursday, October 6, 2011

ordinary extraordinary

I hurried to pick the boys up from the babysitter last night.  I was excited about the Indian Summer weather (80 degrees in October? Yes, please) and my lack of inspiration for dinner, because that combination means going out to eat somewhere that has a patio.  What is it about eating outside that feels so special?  I swear, food tastes better when you eat it (or cook it) outside. 

(especially messy bar-b-q)

Dexter has been such a little love lately, letting us go out to eat.  He used to demand that we hold him the entire time, but lately he's just content as can be to play with a toy while we take our sweet time. 

(as seen here, with his new favorite friend - Freddie Firefly)

Since they were being so good and the weather was so pleasant, we decided on the spur to go to the playground for a bit.

I mean, really.  Why do we buy toys?

The sun was going down.  It was time to head to the house.  Theo is a lover of the common blanket, y'all.  He inspired an impromptu blanket and pillow party.  We threw every nearby pillow and blanket on the floor in the middle of our bedroom and rolled around like a big bunch of silly heads. 

Dexter's obsessing over his new bumpy blanket, courtesy of Auntie Em.

Theo was never still long enough to get a decent picture and there was no time to waste.  I wanted to play too!
Was our evening completely, utterly boring and ordinary?  Definitely.
Was our night fabulous? You betcha.
Would I trade nights like that for a million dollars? Not a chance. 
Are families all over America are having the same experiences on a random Wednesday? Man, I hope so.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

an introduction to my family in rhyme. i'm so sorry.

I'm a proud mama and I'm here to say
My baby boys bring me joy each and every day
The oldest is Theo and he's one point five
Also known as: Cutest Toddler Alive
He sucks his thumb and plays with tractors
Snuggles with his blanket and eats lotsa crackers
He says silly things, always making me laugh
Loves splashing the water out of his bath

My bitty-bit is Dexter and he's so sweet
Spends all the time he can stuck to this teat
He's four months old, our little surprise
I sure hope he keeps his mama's blue eyes
He loves to crinkle and rattle his toys
Diggin' anything that makes loud noise
Snugglin' is fun so we do it all the time
I soak it up 'cause it feels sublime

These boys are my world and I mean it
When they make a mess, I just clean it
I can't imagine our life 15 years from now
We'll keep the refrigerator stocked somehow
How could two little guys make a girl so proud?
If I'm not pulling out my hair, I'm floatin' on a cloud
They'll never ever know how much I care
Until with their own this love they do share

Okay that was bad.  And way harder than I thought.  But I liked Mama G's introduction for the Toddle Along Tuesday blog hop, so I stole her idea and tried to come up with my own little rappy rhyme. Yeah I do it all the time.  Okay y'all, now I can't stop let's get on with the bloggy blog hop.  Crap.  Another Rap.  Okay, that's enough.  Really. Here are some getting-to-know-you nuggets about me and my family. 

Heeere's Theo:
Aaaand Dexter:

Seriously - I'm ~C~.  I have 2 boys, ages 18 months (Theo) and 4 months (Dexter).  And an amazing husband, R, who tirelessly gets them up and ready for the babysitter every day while I am working third shift.  Know why he's amazing?  Because he never complains and I never have to ask for help with the kids.  He just jumps in.  I'm lucky to have these 3 very special guys in my life.  Oh, we've been married for 8+ years and I can't even fathom not being together.  He's my forever and ever and he always has been.

I'm a Facebook junkie.  I'm addicted to my cell phone.  I need lots of sleep but rarely get it so I've learned to function on much less.  I don't take any prescription pills and rarely take over-the-counter drugs.  I've never smoked pot and drugs, in general, just scare me.  I like sunny days when the weather is just right for open windows and music blaring.  There are lots of places I'd like to go, starting within the U.S.  My dad died of pancreatic cancer 4 years ago and I miss him all the time.  I like to cook but don't have time.  I'd love to bake but have even less time for that.  I have a Bachelor's in Social Work but I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  Speaking of my Bachelor's, The Bachelor and Bachelorette are some of my favorite reality tv shows.  Addicted.  Can't help it.  Embarrassed.  And speaking of addictions - I drink sweet tea every day.  I wish I was crafty and creative but I'm not.  I don't understand Pinterest but I want to.  I've never bought anything off of Etsy.  I drive too fast.  I loved being pregnant, although I complained nonstop.  I could go on with randomness like this for days.

Here's TMI - I haven't had a period in almost two and a half years and I'm okay with that.  Got pregnant with Theo in June 09, he was born in March 2010.  Got pregnant with Dexter 5 months later, and he was born in May 2011.  I mean, who shows up to their baby's first birthday party 7 months pregnant?  Me.  I'm still nursing Dexter, and hope to until he's one.  Didn't get there with Theo since I got pregnant with Dexter.  Breastfeeding is really important to me. 

We didn't find out Dexter's gender before he was born, which was a lot of fun.  Frankly, I'm surprised more people don't wait.  I wish we had waited to find out with Theo because I learned that it really doesn't matter.  We bought some girls' clothes just in case and painted Dexter's room after he was born.  That was the extent of the inconvenience in not knowing ahead of time.

My kids are my world and a large part of my identity.  Sometimes I'm proud of that and think that's the way it should be...sometimes I wonder if I'm losing myself in that role and forgetting about other parts of who I am.  Or who I used to be.

So, in a nutshell, that's me and my family.  I hope you'll browse through my blog.  You'll find lots of photos of us and stories about our day to day lives, along with my unsolicited opinion and/or thoughts about things.